Coppersmith Barbet (photo: Swanand Oak)

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Coppersmith Barbet

May 2020, by Swanand Oak.
The Coppersmith Barbet (Psilopogon haemacephalus) is a species of the barbet family and is found on the Indian sub-continent and some parts of South-east Asia. Both the sexes have bright red caps and red-yellow strike patterns on the throat and chest. Sexual dimorphism can be seen by closely studying the colour pattern.

As a colorful bird with a metronomic sound, these birds are found foraging over small berries, fruits and insects. These birds roam solo or in small groups and the male and female both do the feeding work simultaneously during raising of the chicks.

Barbets carve a hole in the bark of trees and the female lays 3-4 eggs at a time but that totally depends on other factors. Mortality is another supporting factor. The breeding season is mainly between February and April in India while December to September in Sri Lanka due to the climate. Unlike other birds, Coppersmith Barbets are one of the few species in which both sexes of one family carry out incubation. The calls of these birds represent metal hammers striking on a surface which can be found confusing as we quickly cannot derive in which direction the sound is coming from.

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Photos: Swanand Oak

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